Life – and numerous heads of hair – returned a little bit more to normal last week as salons were allowed to reopen after forced coronavirus-related closures.
Posh Salon and Spa owner and stylist Ashley Sea said while it was disappointing to close her Boutte shop in March, she knew she had a personal responsibility to her staff and clients to ensure everyone’s safety.
“Our clients were very understanding,” Sea said. “Although we all love to look our best, the importance of community safety takes priority in times like these and our clients were more than willing to do their part to help.”
Jaci Duhe, owner of Serenity Hair Salon, made the difficult decision to close her salon on March 18.
“Little did I know at that time it wouldn’t just be for a week or two,” she said. “It was heartbreaking, and I had so many unanswered questions … we did understand that of course we were not essential, but our clients would have completely disagreed.”
Traci Woodard of Traci Woodard Salon said as a business owner, the financial impact of closing was scary.
“I was very worried about our team and how they be financially and how the salon would be,” she said. “It’s the unknown and not being able to know a date of return … we had just rented a second space to begin doing lashes and brows the month before this happened … for me that meant double all of my bills, and all of a sudden we are not working and not sure when we will be able to work again.”
Heather Jackson, owner and lead stylist at Destrehan’s Salon Stylush, said closing her salon was extremely stressful, difficult and a little heartbreaking.
“The salon is my work, my passion and my everyday life,” she said. “Closing added extreme amounts of stress … I am expecting a baby in June and I was forced to close my sole source of income just a few months before delivery.”
Every owner agreed that it was a huge relief to finally be able to get back to doing she loves, even if getting back to work looks very different than before.
In order to be compliant with state board, state fire marshal and government mandates, stylists at all salons are limited to one client at a time and everyone must be masked at all times.
Workstations in the salons were moved farther apart to allow ample distance between them, and clients now call upon arrival instead of waiting to be seen in the salon. Before entering many salons, the client will have their temperature taken at the door and be asked to sign a consent form acknowledging the salon employee has permission to service them.
All of the extra work to reopen has been worth it, the owners said.
“My team stayed connected through Zoom, text and social networking,” Woodard said. “They were so eager to help to make sure our return to work would be safe for our team and for our guests … they are my ride or die.”
Sea said she missed the day-to-day interaction with her team and clients.
“Throughout the years they have become more than just my co-workers and my clients, they have become part of my family and I look forward to the time we spend together,” Sea said.
Duhe agreed and said she can’t explain the feeling finally being able to walk back into the salon to do what she loves.
“Clients aren’t just clients, they become family,” Duhe said. “We build relationships with them and share so many memories of their individual life with us.”
Woodard said she and her staff love to hear from our salon family about graduations, weddings, how life is going, babies and so much more.
“For us, it is more than just a haircut or color – it’s a connection,” she said.
Jackson also said what she missed the most about not being able to work is seeing her salon family and hearing about their lives.